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Gender equality commitments governments made in the SADC Gender Protocol | 24 June 2019

Gender Links to hold #VoiceandChoice Summit, awards, calls for local groups to submit entries


Different groups from government, NGOs, private organisations in society working in various ways to push for gender equality, youth development and engagement, women empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights among others, are being encouraged to register to take part in a summit being organised here by Gender Links early next month.

Gender Links (GL) from South Africa, the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance GEM Plus in collaboration with different local partners will host the #VoiceandChoice summits in Seychelles on Friday July 5, 2019. The country level summit will culminate in a regional summit to be held in South Africa in November at the start of the 16 Days of Activism against gender and domestic violence.

Giving details of the one day long summit, Sharon Telemaque, the local focal person, said the main purpose of the #VoiceandChoice Summit is to allow participants to learn and share best practices from various sectors across different African countries including from government departments, NGOs, community based organisations (CBOs), faith based organisations (FBOs), local government councils as well as the media. Case studies will be shared in different streams including Action, Youth, Media, Entrepreneurship as well as Centres of Excellence Institutional Awards.

Running under the hashtag #VoiceandChoice the summit as well as similar others taking place in other SADC countries, serve as a springboard to call governments to account for gender equality commitments made in the SADC Gender Protocol and the Sustainable Development Goals. The summits will pave the way to localise the recently adopted Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) strategy.

The summit will also include plenary discussions on #VoiceandChoice and 50/50 campaigns in light of the national elections taking place across the region.

The key #VoiceandChoice categories that local groups can enter in with projects, programmes and other initiatives they have achieved or are working on are:


  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
  • Youth Engagement
  • Governance, including the 50/50 campaign
  • Economic justice
  • Climate change
  • Media
  • Drivers of change

Ms Telemaque explained that at the end of the summit the best project or initiatives in each category will be awarded and the winners will take part in the regional #VoiceandChoice Summit to be held in South Africa in November.

Ms Telemaque explained that all interested groups or individuals concerned should avail of this great opportunity and submit their entries at the COUNTRY SUMMIT WEBSITE LINK: not later than Thursday June 27.

The Voice and choice campaign connects the dots from global to regional to local level in the implementation of the gender equality frameworks. Under the #VoiceandChoice campaign GL also conducted a mapping of SRHR policies and laws in SADC to gauge whether countries have put in place SRHR laws and policies and whether these are adequate in the promotion and protection of SRHR especially for youth and adolescents. This mapping gives firm grounding for advocacy purposes to hold governments accountable.



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